Word of the Day

Thursday, September 19, 2002

gimcrack

\JIM-krak\ , noun;
1.
A showy but useless or worthless object; a gewgaw.
adjective:
1.
Tastelessly showy; cheap; gaudy.
Quotes:
Yet the set is more than a collection of pretty gimcracks.
-- Frank Rich, Hot Seat
In those cities most self-conscious about their claim to be part of English history, like Oxford or Bath, the shops where you could have bought a dozen nails, home-made cakes or had a suit run up, have shut down and been replaced with places selling teddy bears, T-shirts and gimcrack souvenirs.
-- Jeremy Paxman, The English: A Portrait of a People
And as for coincidences in books -- there's something cheap and sentimental about the device; it can't help always seeming aesthetically gimcrack.
-- Peter Brooks, "Obsessed with the Hermit of Croisset", New York Times, March 10, 1985
Origin:
The origin of gimcrack is uncertain. It is perhaps an alteration of Middle English gibecrake, "a slight or flimsy ornament."
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